John Mann

John Mann

Ready for the next Big Thing

There are classes online, free ones, that are tied to colleges (Coursera is a great site to check out), I recently heard of Khan Academy, which looks like a great place to learn, then there are some pay sites that I have seen, Pluralsight and Lynda, that are amazing. So with all this free education out there, what is the future of education? Why would I spend 20k a semester to go to a private university when I can attend their classes online for free? What about elementary education? They have leap pad, and several online courses for children too. Kids today are playing on their iPads, phones, and laptops. I think the desktop machines are slowly dying only to be used by hard-core gamers and developers. I also think that laptops are fading over to the netbooks and tablets. Why would I spend $500 on a laptop when I can get a tablet for $199 that lets me do everything "I" need. Oh, its not got the most powerful processor on the planet... most people don't even know what the advantage is from i5 or an i7 chip... or honestly, some wouldn't know the difference between a 486dx or an i7 chip. Anyway, that is another tangent... The topic is the next big thing... and no, it is not the Galaxy S III, or the new iPhone... I think the next big thing is education. What helps people succeed? Is it being the smartest person in the room? No. Is it knowing everything about nuclear physics? No. Succeeding is based on several factors, the first and most obvious is what you define as success. But we'll get to that soon... Let's stay on track with education... most people associate education with going to class, memorizing some facts, regurgitating that for some quiz or test, from 1st grade to about your sophomore year of high school, you memorize, you repeat, you are considered smart, because you get the A according to the standards that are established. Now, that being said, that does help a little with succeeding, but... long term that is practically worthless. If we stay with technology, it is pretty practical, why did Google succeed or Facebook? Because they did a simple task very well, help me find information, and help me stay connected with friends. They have a simple goal. But why did Mitt Romney win the Republican bid and then lose the election? Why did Black Friday start on Thanksgiving night? How did Martha Stewart go to jail and come back just as strong, but Oprah left her show for her own network and it is failing horribly right now? How did Charlie Sheen have a high-profile meltdown and still land a new tv show? Now, what do ANY of these things have to do with education and succeeding? Well, quite a lot. Succeeding is defined by the individual, some associate with fame, some associate with money, some associate it with helping people, some associate it with having a simple life. So comparing Martha Stewart to Charlie Sheen is a bit of stretch, but the same forces are in effect. They came back because they were popular, supported by fans, and regardless of what they do, they will always be loved for VERY different reasons. Charlie is who he is and does not apologize for his antics or behavior and people love that and wish they had the self-confidence to act like that. Martha Stewart is loved for her personality and her talents, she is the American home-maker. The audience is definitely different, but the fact that Snookie can have a New York Bestseller, than you can identify what is going on with America. So now, that we have established that success can vary greatly, and it is up to the audience, let's continue with education, memory is important, but as long as I have a fast smartphone, I can simply google information. That does not make me successful. What makes someone successful today is personality... Honey Boo Boo got signed for a second season, let's talk about education levels there. However, she is being marketed as a train wreck and American's love watching train wrecks, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, etc... The fact that they have to subtitle a show that is technically spoken in English is just sad. If you are the nicest person in the world and have a positive outlook all of the time, people will like you, they may not even know why, but they will. Do you have a strong self-esteem but aren't arrogant? Do you try to help other succeed? Can you have a conversation about RG3, Honey Boo Boo, and the Cease-Fire in Gaza? THAT makes you approachable... if you know all the classics in the world, and can play Vivaldi's The Four Seasons on violin, and know the history of Mesopotamia BUT do not know who RG3 or Honey Boo Boo, can't talk about the winners of American Idol, or have a favorite sports team, it will not making you successful in any arena. Pop Culture and Sports ARE what Americans love to talk about. They worry about the economy, the social issues, and their retirement and healthcare, but they prefer to talk about how Drew Brees threw for 300+ passing yards and is destroying the touchdowns in consecutive games set by Johnny Unitas, or how Lindsay Lohan is back in court after violating parole, or how the new show The Following with Kevin Bacon looks interesting. That is how you connect with people, not the one-upmanship, that guys do all the time... "I went to mexico one time and had the most amazing time laying by the beach" "I went to mexico and traveled down to central america, and the beaches are even better down there"... the competition that guys do unconsciously are funny to watch now. I know, I was THAT guy. Oh you drank how much? Well, this one time I drank 27 beers and 4 rum and cokes... and that was in 5 hours... I was snowboarding this one time... oh really, I jumped a child in snow park who fell at the base of the jump... oh really, I jumped a deer and did a 720 while I did it... blah, blah, blah... its funny. So now, I listen, I know my stories, and I love them, because they define me, but learn to socialize without competing, learn to interact and listen! That is how you can become successful, let them have their glory... you know yours, you don't have to share it with everyone. Watch some tv, and learn about pop culture, pick a sport and learn about it (basketball, football, or baseball are my suggestions) and then expand from there. Say hi to strangers... be more interactive... be YOU. I always heard that growing up, no one can be a better YOU. Its true... It is corny... but NO ONE can compete with you at being you. Think about that the next time you think you want to be someone else... I know I have babbled a lot today, but I'm hoping you got something out of this, if nothing else, know that I'm thinking of what my next BIG THING is... we shall see... :-) Thanks for stopping by...

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